Open Gardens

Sometimes something comes along at the perfect moment. It’s been almost three months since our beloved Mary passed away and somehow it feels like we should be doing more to keep her memory alive.


So when her husband Michael heard that we could open her private garden to the public as a fundraiser for the Irish Red Cross, he – and we – felt it would be the perfect way to honour her memory.

Mary’s legacy is evident everywhere I look – in her hat-making and painting, in her house and all her baking utensils, that now only gather dust. But her legacy is most evident in her beautiful garden which covers 1.5 acres and features over 150 varieties of flowers, shrubs and trees. As you can see from the photos below, the gardens run through the old village centre, with an old granary and a little cottage as the most visible remains of a road that no longer exists.

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If you’re a garden enthusiast or just fancy a day out, please come along this Sunday 13th July to stroll in her beautiful garden. We’ll be serving tea and buns and there may even be some live music! The garden (in a little town land between Gortaganny & Ballinlough, Co.Roscommon) will be open from 12 noon until 6pm. For more information check out and if you decide to take a spin this way, DM me on twitter or email me for directions / GPS co-ordinates.

If you love gardens but Roscommon is a bit of a trek too far, do keep an eye on your local paper for details of open gardens in your locality – or better still, host an open garden fundraiser yourself! You can sign up here on the Irish Red Cross page.


p.s. Of all the things I’ve ever posted here, I can freely admit that this one has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Leaving Cert English. Or Junior Cert English. In fact its only connection to the subject may be the fact that it’s written in English.However, as this is my main portal for communication with the online world, I’ll plonk it here anyway and hope to be forgiven. It is the summer holidays after all!

5 responses to “Open Gardens

  1. Evelyn, Mary’s garden looks so beautiful and I only wish I could call over to see it.
    Good luck with the event and good luck with your new position – I hope you share the experiences online with your anxious audience – we’ll be hoping for your words of wisdom as the year progresses!

  2. Brilliant idea Evelyn – it is hard to actively get the head together to find a way to REALLY positively mark the presence of special people in our lives when they move out of our physical world so this is a beautiful idea. If I could dump the LC corrections I’d come up. And hey you may not have meant your blog to be linked to English but the first thing I thought of when I read your PS was the lovely poem by WH Davies ‘Leisure’ – and your mother in law’s garden will hopefully provide a place for some to understand his words:


    WHAT is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare?—
    No time to stand beneath the boughs,
    And stare as long as sheep and cows:
    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
    No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance:
    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began?
    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.
    W. H. Davies

  3. In addition to being written in English, this is also an example of a blog post! However, I can’t quite reconcile this type of post with your advice about writing blogs in either a diary OR article style.
    I find the most engaging posts tend to be a blend of the two with some sort of personal story, reflection or insight plus useful information for readers and ideally a call to action (as illustrated in your post that is part diary and part article).
    Perhaps you could add mention of a composite diary/article style for bloggers to consider when they are not bound by the syllabus and specific wording of school assignment?
    (PS Your friend’s garden is lovely. This was a great way to remember her and help others at the same time.)

    • That is a bloody good point! Thanks so much, I’ll update my post on blogging to reflect this very important nuance… I totally agree with you that hybrid writing, which draws from the strengths of many genres, is often the most compelling.